"Everything is better with a little bit of kindness": the motto of Inverell's latest Order of Australia Medal recipient.
Desma Kearsey, a multi-facetted gem of the Shire, wears many hats: renowned physiotherapist; Justice of the Peace; volunteer extraordinaire; stoic supporter of the Inverell Highlanders; and gold medal winning taekwondo enthusiast.
Despite these manifold good works and accomplishments, when she received the news of her OAM, she laughed and said it must be because she's the "rubbish lady".
"I laughed and said to Pete, my husband, that maybe it's because I go around and pick up rubbish," she postured.
"People say what difference does that make - well, anything you can do as an individual to make something better is something good to do."
Yet while her gentle conversation and welcoming manner have lead to her at-home physiotherapy practice being dubbed the 'community centre of Inverell' - where you enter as a patient and leave a friend - Mrs Kearsey still put the fear of God into an unwary burglar earlier in the year, despite being in her 70s.
She has two gold medals, a silver medal "and more" from national and state Taekwondo titles, and as Sensei, has her Second Dan Black Belt.
Whether it's attending CWA brunches, lunches and conferences as the president for the past term (and a bit), sitting on the board of the Inverell Legatees branch or taking part in projects for the Inverell Red Cross group, volunteering is something that comes as naturally as breathing.
It's almost an extension of her chosen profession of Physiotherapy. "It's simple. I always knew I wanted to help those in pain," she stated when asked what drew her to the field.
From working on the Inverell rugby team players' sore muscles, standing guard at the sideline of Marshall Arts events, to tracking down a walker for a Veteran's wife, she frequently puts those skilled hands up to give assistance.
"You don't do it for the praise, or the awards, but it is a huge honour, and I am very grateful to my family and friends and patients who have all supported me."
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